WINDSOR, Conn., June17, 2011 — Following strong double-digit growth in 2009, new premium sales of individual life combination products jumped 62 percent in 2010, reaching $1.2 billion, according to LIMRA’s research.
“Overall sales of combination products in 2010 were remarkable, especially coming off the double-digit growth experienced in 2009,” said Catherine Ho, LIMRA research actuary. “In addition to carriers boosting their marketing campaigns, consumers’ growing desire for an alternative to stand-alone long term care insurance (LTCI) has driven sales of these products. For some buyers, combination products are a more affordable alternative to stand-alone LTCI. ”
New sales of combination products represent six percent of the individual life insurance market based on new premium. In addition, with more than 26,000 policies sold in 2010, policy count of combination products increased 69 percent over 2009 sales results.
Similar to the overall individual life insurance market, sales of whole life (WL) and universal life (UL) combination products increased in 2010 over 2009. However, UL combination products continue to be the biggest segment of this market, not just in premium but also in new policies and insurance sold. New premium rose 58 percent from 2009, representing 80 percent of the combination market. And policy count jumped 60 percent from 2009 sales results.
Sales of variable life products have been down the past two years, not yet recovering from lows hit during the financial crisis. However, new premium sales of variable universal life (VUL) combination products increased 44 percent and policy count improved 88 percent in 2010.
Over the past few years, most of the growth in the combination product market has come from linked benefit products. In 2010, linked benefit products grew 60 percent, representing 45 percent of policies sold. The linked benefit products provide LTC benefits above and beyond the life death benefit. The buyer decides on the life face amount, and then decides on the additional LTC benefit. These are mostly single premium and all-in-one packaged products.
Acceleration products experienced 76 percent growth in 2010. Sales growth of acceleration products exceeded linked benefit products in 2010 and now makes up 55 percent of the market by policies sold. Acceleration products provide LTC benefits up to the amount of the life death benefit and are more commonly riders that can be attached to many of the products in a carrier’s life product portfolio. When LTC benefits are needed, it draws down or accelerates the death benefit. These products typically have much higher face amounts, but the portion that can be accelerated for LTC may be capped.
LIMRA found that buyers in their 60s continue to be the biggest portion of in force policies. However, acceleration products are gaining traction in the younger market and with higher face amount policies. The overall trend in average face amount has steadily increased for acceleration products, but stayed level for linked benefit products.
According to the study, female policy owners account for almost 65 percent of in force policies, an increase of six percentage points from the 2009 survey. The biggest gap between genders occurs between issue ages 75 and 79.
Overall, career and independent agents are the most dominant in combination product sales with more than half of the premium being sold through these channels. In 2010, career and independent agents experienced 99 percent and 146 percent new premium growth respectively. Financial institutions and banks sold 32 percent more combination products based on premium in 2010 compared to 2009, while financial planners and advisors sold 33 percent more premium in 2010 than in 2009.
LIMRA is a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization that helps more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 73 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.